PSR Teacher Volunteers Share Knowledge with Peers
Duane Unger, Luis Navichoque and Ron Unger are helping their friends at the Lee Psychosocial Rehabilitation (PSR) program learn about topics that interest them through peer-to-peer classes.
Attendees at Monarch’s Lee PSR, the trio has transformed into teachers on topics they have had an interest in for years. And, their peers are enjoying learning something new thanks to their expertise.
The PSR program located in Sanford serves 12 individuals who have been diagnosed with a severe and persistent mental health diagnoses. A PSR, through its programs, empowers individuals with the skills they need to be active members in their communities.
Lee PSR Program Manager Michelle Marsh explains that attendees participate in community outings, education about mental health, financial budgeting and independent living skills and on occasion take overnight trips. “Our program focuses on what they need to live independently while healing from a mental illness,” she says simply.
Michelle, also program manager at Harnett PSR in nearby Buies Creek, said participants were discussing topics of interest. “They all have goals and I want to support them stepping into those goals. Let’s just see if they can do these things,” she says of suggesting to them a peer-to-peer class format. Everyone was interested in hearing more. “I wanted our participants to take ownership and teach the classes about topics they wanted to know more about.”
Michelle shares that the peer-to-peer classes are not only helping the volunteers learn what it means to be a teacher but reinforces public speaking skills, dressing for success and the importance of researching and preparing lessons based on what their peers want.
Duane, who teaches poetry, has enjoyed writing poems since 1965 and can craft an original in short order. “It is my outlet,” he says, adding that he has twelve notebooks filled with prose and has published a book of his works. He is working toward receiving his adult high school diploma by year’s end.
Ron, Duane’s brother, wanted to learn how to be a leader and would like to one day become a pastor. He volunteered to teach Bible studies. He arrives for the day’s lesson armed with his personal Bible, pages tagged with small slips of paper to remind him of favorite passages. He asks his students to read a verse and then prompts class discussion. Lamont, Luis and Medina read verses aloud and the class discusses how they interpret its meaning.
Luis speaks both English and Spanish. He volunteered to teach Spanish to Lee PSR. He has incorporated using a large whiteboard to write out common phrases, the alphabet and numbers that he can teach to his peers.
Lee PSR participant Trish says this about Luis’ Spanish classes: “He does a good job. We get used to saying stuff that we have never said before. He tries to hang in there with us and helps us learn.”
Duane likes each peer-to-peer class: “I like to absorb all of it and take it all in.”
The idea has proven popular and is being implemented at nearby Harnett PSR. Participant Donna McDougald will teach cooking and Howard Monroe will share his love of American history and government. Monarch also has PSR programs in Forsyth, Richmond, New Hanover and Wake counties. For more information on PSR programs, visit here or call (866) 272-7826.
Posted on: Wednesday July 27, 2022